Irving Penn - Photographs New York Wednesday, October 12, 2022 | Phillips
  • Shot by master photographer Irving Penn, Bee (A), New York, September, 1995 appeared in the December 1995 issue of American Vogue. As Phyllis Posnick, Vogue's Executive Fashion Editor for over 25 years, notes, ‘Penn remembered that “Bee Stung Lips” had been a popular expression in the 1950s to characterize full, pouty lips. So, in 1995, as lip injections were becoming more popular, he thought using this idea was a perfect illustration for the Vogue article titled ‘The Lip Fix.’ The arresting detail here: the velvety texture of the fluffy bee against the model’s pristinely lined, blush-red lips, epitomizes Alexander Liberman’s definition of Penn’s photographs as ‘stoppers’ – stunning, haunting and memorable images that stop you in your tracks.

    • Provenance

      Hamiltons Gallery, London

    • Literature

      Penn, Irving and John Szarkowski, Still Life: Irving Penn photographs 1938-2000, n.p.
      Bee Stung Lips, editorial photograph for Vogue, New York, 22 September 1995
      P. Posnick, Stoppers: Photographs from My Life at Vogue, Abrams, p. 203 (crop)

    • Artist Biography

      Irving Penn

      American • 1917 - 2009

      Arresting portraits, exquisite flowers, luscious food and glamorous models populate Irving Penn's meticulously rendered, masterful prints. Penn employed the elegant simplicity of a gray or white backdrop to pose his subjects, be it a model in the latest Parisian fashion, a famous subject or veiled women in Morocco.

      Irving Penn's distinct aesthetic transformed twentieth-century elegance and style, with each brilliant composition beautifully articulating his subjects. Working across several photographic mediums, Penn was a master printmaker. Regardless of the subject, each and every piece is rendered with supreme beauty. 

      View More Works


Bee (A), New York, September

Dye destruction print.
10 x 10 in. (25.4 x 25.4 cm)
Signed, titled, dated, initialed in pencil, copyright credit (Courtesy Vogue) reproduction limitation and credit stamps on the verso. One from an edition of 15.

Full Cataloguing

$60,000 - 80,000 

Contact Specialist

Sarah Krueger
Head of Department, Photographs, New York

Vanessa Hallett
Worldwide Head of Photographs and Deputy Chairwoman, Americas


New York Auction 12 October 2022